Hashtags or the number symbol were common in coding for years until they became a household term in reference to social media search links.

in 2007 Twitter began to use the hashtag as a method of indexing keywords to help facilitate good search results for it. Since then, most every social media site has been leveraging hashtags for that same purpose.

The first hashtag ever used in this way was #barcamp. It was posted by Chris Messina, a product designer and internet consultant.

Hashtags that spread quickly and get used by a lot different users begin to trend. That means that the keyword term is popular and getting widely used online. That doesn’t mean that every hashtag you set out to use should trend. It all depends on why you’re using your hashtag.

HASHTAGS Are Basically Search Terms.

There are plenty of reasons why you should be using hashtags in your tweets—but if we had to distill it down to three reasons, they’d be:

Increase User Engagement

Hashtags are quite important in posts, people use hashtags to click on to search for simliar posts. Think of hashtags as categorical groupings on subject matter content.  Studies show that posts with hashtags have a 50% or higher engagement rate than those without.

Build Your Brand

Hashtags are a great way to make your brand mark.  Many brands have catch phrases, like Nike’s ‘Just Do It’.  They use this as a #hashtag #justdoit.  You can do this with your brand too.  Come up with hashtag you like and makes sense for your brand, it could be your name like #jmconsulting or #jmconsultingwebhosting and use this on every post.

Who is Your Audience

When you use hashtags it really helps people find you.  How?  Because they are using hashtags to search and if you are in that group they search for, then they found you. Keep track of hashtags that work for you by using your analytics and insights from social media.  JM Consulting can help you with this if you need it.

5 Best Ways To Use Hashtags (from hootsuite)

1. Look at what influencers are doing

The influencers within your brand’s niche can give you a lot of insights into what hashtags are working.

And it’s simple: Go through your influencer’s social media posts and take note of the hashtags they’re using frequently.

To streamline the process even further, you can use a tool like Hashtagify.me. This tool allows you to search different keywords throughout Twitter and Instagram and see the top influencers for that keyword.

For example, if you enter in the term “health” it’ll search through all of Instagram and Twitter’s health hashtags to find the top influencer using that keyword.

2. See what’s trending

Zooming out from influencers, your brand’s entire niche can give you great insight into what hashtags you should be using.

Whenever there’s a trending topic or hashtag within your industry’s circle on social media, take note of that. You can jump on that hashtag in order to increase your brand awareness too.

Another great tool you can use is RiteTag.com. This handy platform gives you instant hashtag suggestions based on real-time data whenever you make a social media post.

3. Be specific

Remember: The more you niche down your target market, the more customers you’ll attract.

The same idea goes for social media posts and hashtags. The more specific and targeted your hashtags are, the more opportunities your target audience will have to see you.

Try and hone in on a passionate community that shares an interest in one specific theme. The more specific you can get with your hashtag, the more targeted your audience will be—and a targeted audience generally means better engagement.

If you don’t have your own business hashtag, find one or two existing ones that really fit the photo.

Say, for example, your business sells baby products. Instead of using #parents—resulting in parents of children of all ages—opt for #newmom. The hashtag #newmom is specific to mothers of newborns—your target customer.

4. Use unbranded (but relevant) hashtags

Brand hashtags don’t have to (read: shouldn’t) mention your brand name. BUT they should represent your brand and what you stand for.

Destination British Columbia created the hashtag #exploreBC. The tourism company uses it to share scenic photos of the Canadian province taken by their employees and the community.

5. Cater your hashtags to the site you’re using

While hashtags on all social networks have the same fundamental purpose of content tagging and discovery, the use of hashtags still varies by network.

Hashtags on the photo- and video-sharing platform are often more focused on description of the content. This is at odds with Twitter, where hashtags tend to be more focused a topic of conversation, or a group of people (a chat for example) that you would like to engage.

Before using hashtags, do research on the proper way to use them for that particular network. 

Also take the time to discover the most popular and most relevant hashtags on a specific subject for each network. This extra time you invest will pay off in engagement down the road.

Common Hashtag Best Practices For Each Network


How to use Twitter hashtags

Optimal number of hashtags: 1 – 2

How to use Instagram hashtags

Optimal number of hashtags: 9 – 15

How to use Facebook hashtags

Optimal number of hashtags: 1 – 2

How to use LinkedIn hashtags

Optimal number of hashtags: 1 – 2

Remember these are just guidelines based on statistics, there is no RULE OF LAW that indicates what is better or not.

What is the best Way To Use Hashtags

This is the biggest question we get.  

You can post hashtags at the end of your post, in comments of the post or inline.  There is no real right or wrong way to do it, the best bet is to mix it up and see what works for your audience.

Social Media Marketing



About Joe

Owner and co-founder of JM Consulting.